(Warning: a few of you may find this interesting in an odd way, the rest of you...prepare to be bored. Sorry.)
There is a very awkward closet tucked away in our school room. It is awkward because the room is round, and therefore the closet is round. Have you ever tried to hang shelves in a closet that has a round back? I solved the problem by installing part of an "Easy Track"-type system. You are supposed to hang uprights like this from a hanger at the top of the closet. I couldn't install the hanger (wall not flat) but installed the uprights directly to the wall.
This allowed me to use as many pop-in shelf brackets as I want, wherever I want, and move them around whenever I want. The shelves touch the back wall on the sides so there is a couple-inch gap at the back of each shelf in the middle but that is just fine with me.
Adding to the awkwardness, the closet extends about a foot to the left. It is hard to get things in and out of there but I am grateful for the extra room.
It also extends about 8 inches to the right, but for now the small shelves in this section (the narrowest part of the closet) hold computer equipment and other odds and ends.
I have at least one shelf for each Montessori subject, one shelf for purchased materials still in their boxes, two shelves for trays and containers, and one other for what I call "raw materials." I'll work my way down from the top.
I keep the purchased materials that are still in their boxes on the top shelf. Every time I receive a new material I write the name of the material on every side of the box with a Sharpie so that I can see what it is no matter which way it is turned.
The next shelf down holds language materials. The little hardware cabinet holds phonics objects. We must have lost the "U" last night when the boys were working with the cabinet.
The third shelf from the top is currently Maths on the left and Culture on the right. Below that is are what I call "raw materials." Here I store odds and ends I use to make materials (contact paper, foam board, duct tape, felt, etc.,).
We are pretty early in the sequence so don't have a large amount of math materials and I have two cabinets of manipulatives/counters out in the school room so math didn't need a whole shelf. I can see that Culture is soon going to take over like gremlins though and I will have to do some rearranging at some point.
Below the raw materials shelf is the first of two shelves for practical life and below that is the first of two shelves for trays and containers.
This photo shows both of the shelves for trays and containers.
Second from the bottom is the Sensorial shelf. On the floor I have small bins that pull out and hold practical life odds and ends (tongs, sponges, suction cups, lacing strings, etc.,). All the way to the left is the box for the red rods because it just doesn't fit anywhere else.
I keep an inventory of everything that is in this closet, otherwise I would absolutely forget about most of the neat things I have. I usually skim the list every day either while the boys are in their working and I need something to do, or later in the evening. Right after the boys go to bed each night I go into the school room for about ten minutes and make any changes that are needed for the next day. I change the language objects, add sandpaper letters and numbers, and put out any new materials that they might be ready for.
This inventory used to be scribbled on paper, but this week I entered my entire inventory into LibraryThing. Tomorrow I will post and let you know how you can access that if you would like and write about some useful tips for those of you who might be using LibraryThing yourselves.
Obviously everything is not in this closet. Large items that are not in use yet like the maps cabinet and botany cabinet are stashed elsewhere in the house. I also do not keep seasonal items in here. The closet would explode if I were storing things like a cauldron in there! I have four bankers boxes in the basement labeled Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. I know some teachers have a box like that for each month of the year, but I am hoping that for our small homeschool seasonal boxes will suffice.
My apologies for the low-quality photos. My photography skills are not advanced enough to manage great photos of the inside of an unlit closet. I had hoped that the shelf labels would have been legible at least, but I overestimated my skills.
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